Yesterday I was talking to a friend about relationships. The ebb and flow of the romantic relationships in our life. Men and women are so different. We often really are from different planets. Recently Chris and I have disagreed about different topics and the key component of our disagreements have been around listening.
Listening. Such an interesting aspect of relationships. In the end all we really want is to be heard. We want others to listen to us and most of all we want to be understood. The rare occasions that Chris and I fight and bicker usually results to being heard, trusted, and listening. Kind of a no-brainer really. Who does not want to feel like they matter and the person they love and care about most is there for them?
There are ten other great signs, but those are the ones that stand out to me most. Chris will tell you, when I am all in, I am all in. Step aside because when I get something in my mind and decide to do it, there is no stopping me. I am not a quitter. It is a strength and a weakness, but hey, we all have flaws. We all fart and burp, puke and stink. We are gloriously flawed. And since I am an open book, he always knows what I am thinking unless I am deep in process/thought mode, but even then I am usually discussing my thoughts with him. Nothing is off-limits. However, it does not mean we talk about every single thing. There are things that happen in the quiet and stillness of being together and doing our own thing.
In the end, and what matters most is that we stay true to who we are. I am an all in, flawed, say-what-is-on-my-mind, badass woman. He has the unique and special opportunity of waking up next to me everyday.
I love learning new things. Last week we were having dinner with friends from out-of-town and as our waiter walked away one of our friends said: “Our waiter is a lumbersexual.” I had not heard the term and my eyes widened with interest. My mind wandered with thinking of all the hipster Portland men with proper fitting jeans (sometimes rolled), nice shoes and shirt, hair well taken care of and of course either a mustache or beard. Usually I have thought of those that fall into that realm as “hipster.” However, lumbersexual is such a better descriptor.
Of course I came home and spent some time reviewing the Internet of recent articles pertaining to those deemed lumbersexual. I am not completely out of the loop. The term is fairly new of the last few months. Beards, beer, jeans, tattoos, flannel, loves the outdoors, and shops for beard oil. What? Beard oil. Yes, it is all the rage in Portland. A few articles heightened my interest. Of course I love when one mentions my backyard of the Willamette National Forest and even a comment on moisturizer:
“It goes without saying that virtually no man ever called himself a metrosexual, which really just referred to men who shopped for their own pants, went to the gym, and used moisturizer. (That was a big leap. It really was.) So don’t expect the term Lumbersexual to blow up, no matter how ubiquitous Lumbersexuals become.”
I have never been able to get Chris to use moisturizer. Why is that so hard for us women to get our men to see the benefits? If you live in Kansas, or Tokyo, or London and you have no idea what I am talking about, take a trip to Portland. Lumbersexual men abound. They are all things Portland. You will find them in coffee shops, wine bars, brew pubs, you name it.
If you celebrate Christmas, do you have a tradition of hanging a stocking? Chris and I have not done it at all during our marriage, but growing up it was part of our tradition. We did not have a fireplace, or mantle to hang our stockings, but instead my dad hammered nails into this makeshift bookcase. It was about my height at the time, so maybe four feet high, and we each had our own stocking. Even our dog, who always received dog bones of different varieties — from rawhide to Milkbone, and if our dog was lucky maybe a new toy. Probably to distract them from all the sounds, lights, and interesting happenings in the house.
Everyone’s stocking was different. My grandma knit my sister’s, brother’s, and mine. I have no idea how she did it, but she knit our names into the stocking so we always knew if it was ours. She was an impressive knitter, and I still have my childhood stocking today. While we never received much at Christmas, for some reason my stocking always intrigued me. What did my stocking usually contain? At the bottom (and I think to weigh it down) there was usually an apple or orange. Followed by a pair of socks, a handful of candy, and maybe a tiny toy. Every once in a while there was a coloring book or some sort of object that did not fit into the stocking itself. Any items that did not fit were laid on the floor just below the stocking.
The tradition was that we were not allowed to leave our rooms on Christmas morning until we were given the approval from our parents. We would scurry out to the living room to scope out the Christmas tree and whether Santa had made it to our house that year. Were the milk and cookies gone? Then we were allowed to go to our stockings and dump out the contents. We could do whatever we wanted, play with anything included, and even have our own candy. We were not allowed to touch any gifts. Then we had breakfast together (my mom’s coffee cake). Once everyone finished their breakfast (my parents made us stay at the table for what felt like forever) we would make it back to the living room and our Christmas tree to open the presents that were under the tree.
I have not had a traditional Christmas since I was twelve, and so that was probably the last time I had a stocking too. These days I am such a minimalist. I do not want “stuff” just to give/get. Thus, we have not continued the tradition. Maybe someday I will knit a new stocking for a little one and start our version of stocking traditions on Christmas morning.
“Over the past two decades I’ve delved deeply into the literature of what makes greatness. The surprising answer is that, fundamentally, humans want to be great. People want to do something purposeful—to make the world, even if just in a small way, a better place. The key is getting rid of what stands in their way, removing the impediments to their becoming who they’re capable of becoming.” Page 229
Remove the impediments. Excuses. Frustrations. Battles between co-workers. Difference of opinion. Lack of budget. No leadership support. Not enough time. Not good enough. The list can go on and on as to why we cannot finish, arrive, or show up. At times I believe we are blinded by what is standing in our way. Even if we do not see the road blocks, they’re there, so we need to remove them and move to greatness.
If you have not had the chance to watch an episode of Silicon Valley, here is an excerpt that has a funny rant about scrum.
I heard someone say this yesterday: “I got swagger.” I thought to myself: “I got swagger, maybe not today, but I got swagger.” Yesterday was a strange day. I felt an array of emotions, from anger, frustration, to laughter, sass, and yes swagger.
How do we keep our swagger? I think of all the people who I have looked up to in my life. Those that have inspired me, made my jaw drop, or just had me often say: Wow. They are the people who make us think differently. A professor in college had swagger. She had a way of making you enamored with her. You wanted her opinion, craved her attention, and missed her when she was not around. She had swagger.
My niece has swagger. I have been watching kids on and off since I was nine. From all the kids I have taken care of, to the 6 week old and up children I took care of at a day care during college, to my friend’s kids, my niece has got it. Of course I am biased, how can I not be, but that kid lights up a room, makes you laugh, and has something very special about her. I mean look at this photo. (She is the blond at the back of the circle of girls that all want to dote on her.) Swagger.
My husband has swagger. I cannot handle frustrating customer service situations. I have lived in that world too long, that when I have a shitty experience I go volatile and cannot handle the fact that I get sub-par service. He handles it with poise, firmness, and patience. That man has swagger.
A friend is going through a hard time in her marriage. She is working it through in her way. She is so selfless at work and with her child. She makes us all laugh, keeps it real, and tells it like it is. She has swagger.
I tell it like it is almost always (I do have a tiny filter when really needed). I suck the life out of my day. I love people, helping them, listening, and doing what I can to be there for them. I am a bit sassy. I got swagger.